Prep 3 hrs
Cook 1 hr
Oh my gosh, this cake takes time, effort and energy, but the results are WELL worth it and it is actually easier than it looks. This is a beautiful cake and everyone RAVES over it. You can make the cake layers ahead of time and freeze them for up to a month (thaw them at room tem before assembling the cake). The meringues can be baked a day ahead of time and store in tins. The cream cheese filling can be prepared a day ahead of time and refrigerated.
- 5 large eggs, separated
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (or you can use almond(I've tried both)
- 2 1⁄2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1⁄4 cup dutch process cocoa
- 2⁄3 cup pecans, finely chopped
CREAM CHEESE FILLING
- 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
- 1⁄2 cup butter, softened
- 1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1⁄2 teaspoon almond extract
- 3 cups sifted powdered sugar
- 3⁄4 cup whipping cream
- 24 ounces semisweet baking chocolate, finely chopped (Ghirdelli)
- 2 egg whites
- 1 1⁄2 teaspoons white vinegar
- 1⁄8 teaspoon salt
- 1⁄2 cup sugar
- 4 ounces semisweet baking chocolate, finely chopped (Ghirdelli)
- FOR CAKE:.
- Beat egg whites at high speed with an electric mixer until soft peaks form; set aside.
- In a separate bowl, beat butter at medium speed until creamy.
- Add sugar and beat well.
- Add egg yolks, one at a time and beat until well blended after each addition.
- In a small bowl, combine the buttermilk and 2 teaspoons flavoring.
- In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and cocoa. Add the dry mixture to the butter mixture, alternating with the buttermilk mixture; beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Beat at low speed after each addition until well blended.
- Stir in the pecans and mix well.
- Fold in the beaten egg whites and pour the batter into 3 well greased 9 inch cake pans.
- Bake at 350°F for 20 minutes until a wooden toothpick comes out clean.
- Cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then remove cake to wire racks to cool completely.
- CREAM CHEESE FILLING:.
- Beat the first four ingredients at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Gradually add the powdered sugar, beating until light and fluffy.
- Once the cake cools completely, spread this filling between the layers.
- Bring whipping cream to a simmer in a heavy saucepan over medium heat.
- Remove from heat and add chocolate, stirring until the chocolate is melted.
- Cool until ganache becomes a spreading consistency (stirring often).
- Frost the top and sides of the cake with ganache reserving 1/2 cup.
- Beat the egg whites, vinegar and salt at high speed with an electric mixer until foamy.
- Gradually add sugar; beating until soft peaks form and sugar dissolves.
- Fold in chocolate.
- Drop by heaping teaspoonfuls onto parchment paper lined baking sheets and bake at 250°F for 35 minutes.
- Transfer to wire racks to cool completely.
- Once cool, mound meringues on top of cake to form a small mountain, beginning at the sides and working in, layering 3-4 layers high. Drizzle the meringues with the remaining ganache.
- TO SERVE THE CAKE:.
- Before cutting, remove the meringues with small tongs and use them as a garnish on each cake serving.
- TO STORE:.
- IF you have any cake left, store it in the refrigerator without the meringues. Store the meringues in an airtight container at room temperature.
I can't think of any poetic words which would do this beautiful and delicious cake justice so I hope the photos speak for themselves. You are right, Sherrybeth...it IS some work but it IS worth it. What a spectacle...both in looks and in taste. Thanks for sharing this recipe. Made for Chef-I-Am's Cake-a-thon.